How Blogging Makes Money: 7 Super Side Hustles to Earn More!
Ever wondered how you can make money blogging? In this blog post, we'll discuss seven ways you can make a side income with your blog, and then some!
Some of these side hustles include affiliate income, product referrals, and advertising revenue. As well as selling your own products, creating a course or ebook, or writing sponsored posts.
We're going to go out on a limb a bit with this post so If you are looking for creative ways to make an income from your blog, you've come to the right place!
Before we jump in we should cover the question...
How to make money blogging
There are many ways to make money blogging, and most of them will infringe on your comfort zone!
So if you're not quite ready to have your comfort zone poked and pummelled then please read Napolean Hill's brilliant 'Think and Grow Rich' right now, ok?
Because right at the start to actually make money blogging you need to commit to put the time and effort into it...
And making a commitment can be a hard call sometimes.
That might mean writing 50-100 blog posts before you see any income roll in. (Which could take 6-12 months, although AI tools make it easier). 🙂
Other schools of thought reckon you can do it with just a handful of (well crafted) blog posts but...
Either way, it's unlikely we'll master it in a short afternoon!
If you're ok with that then great! (btw I only have 35 posts!)
The profitable blog 1000 foot view
But how do you actually make money from your blog?
We list the side hustles you can use to make money blogging below, but basically it's good to have the infrastructure in place and oil your money making machine daily.
That means to have a good self hosted WordPress blog setup, and produce helpful content every other day too!
You might also want to...
- Remove unwanted distractions!
- Create useful, engaging content for your audience (Jasper can help)
- Embrace keyword research (know what people are searching for)
- Treat this madness like a blogging business!
A successful blog is not all about making money!
It's said that blog and niche website owners who are the most driven have found a niche that gives them energy through passion and curiousity.
Or it's that person who has 10 different websites on the go and struggles to share their time between them all.
If you're going to put your precious time into this craft then don't chase that niche that's only about the money... that'll burn you out real quick.
See... one of the most amazing things with an online business is that every potential article or blog post can be its own business...
In other words, that evergreen article that ranks page one in Mr. Google might just get a boatload of super enthusiastic visitors...
Which shoots you into a position of making a real difference in other people's lives. (Not to mention bring in some passive income, when you get it right!)
Which blogging platform to use?
Before we go deep into the blog monetization bits and bobs we should run quickly over the blogging platforms you can use.
I run my own blog on DropFunnels but there are multitudes of options out there.
The main thing everyone seems to have a consensus on is to use a WordPress setup like Elegant Themes or similar.
But you can go with things like SquareSpace too if you really want. (Although we always recommend using a WordPress blog setup).
When you realise the lack of money is an indication you aren’t PUTTING OUT ENOUGH things that BRING BACK MONEY, that is something you can fix. You can’t wiggle your nose and magically cause money come in. You’ve got to flip that equation around and PUT OUT an abundance of things that CAUSE money to happen, that cause money to FLOW to you in FLOODS.
~ Marlon Sanders
My (weird) monetization strategy
Technically you can make money from promoting products on your blog as an affiliate, like we do! Ie; the odd review on DropFunnels and Jasper (the best AI tool, like ever!)
That means you earn a small amount from everyone who signs up and purchases those products -- it works best if it's recurring income, by the way!
To do this successfully you'll need some traffic to your blog and pour your heart into some good content. (Aim to publish 1-2 blog posts a week!)
That's easier said than done! This is why we use AI tools like Jasper to help us write!
My random strategy is basically to generate income from helpful blog posts (aiming for 1 published a week), plus play around with helping out peeps on Twitter. 🙂
Generally speaking, although we don't do guest blogging, use ad networks or sell ad space, we do add affiliate links into our content as this seems to work best.
Who is your target audience?
Do you know who your target audience is?
- Most bloggers? (who, what, where?)
- Work from home mums and families?
- Content publishers?
- Graphic designers?
You get the idea.
Here is a great resource which gives you a phenomenal list of hobbies, which may help you understand your target market better.
A million different niches and hobbies means a lot of potential blog topics!
For us, we're aiming to reach content publishers, freelancers, writers, copywriters and entrepreneurs who could use help with their productivity.
And maybe people who haven't written their first blog post yet too. 🙂
Doing basic keyword research
Keyword research doesn't need to be complicated.
Just use the free version of UberSuggest or even AHREFS to find out what keywords you need to use.
You need to know what people are searching for so you can get your content ranking in the search engines like Google.
Here's an example of what it looks like using UberSuggest...
But anyhoo, we should jump into the some of the ways you can make money blogging, so let's go...
1. Sell advertising on your blog
Now we don't do this personally but many publishers use different methods like banner ads, sponsor posts or product reviews to sell and promote advertising on their blogs.
If you search Google for 'display ads' you'll see Google Ads, Taboola, and others too. Google Adsense seems to be as popular as ever.
Blog posts and articles with ads plastered all over them look rather horrible, in my humble publisher's opinion.
But it seems some of them do make a tiny fortune for the owners.
Boggles the mind.
You need consistent traffic (visitors) shuffling to your blog to pull this one off...
So in this case if you're wondering how people make money blogging then one answer is 'display ads!'
Here's another way...
2. Place affiliate links on your blog
You can also use affiliate or referral links on your own blog like we do.
This way you get paid (earn a commission) when someone clicks through and buys a product or service. It's called affiliate or referral marketing.
It's perfectly legal too. 🙂
It works well but you need a good amount of people (probably 1000+ month) viewing your blog posts to get those click throughs. (Challenging if it's a new blog!)
Basically you're referring products, and if you use and like those products then even better! You become a mediator for purchase decisions. Cool eh?
Remember -- every article / blog post can be its own business.
Pro tip: to become battle-hardened at this, focus on using recurring affiliate products like AI tools or website hosting.
Most companies (even Amazon) have an affiliate program you can join.
Full disclosure: We'll use an affiliate link in every blog post we write!
Next up is...
3. Write sponsored posts
A sponsored post is an article that you write in exchange for money. Companies will pay you to write about their products or services, and in return, you get a nice payday and some extra exposure for your blog.
Read what you need to know about sponsored content in this blog post from Active Campaign.
We've been approached by a few companies over time to write a sponsor post, and always been a bit hesitant to do it...
But it can be a great way to make some extra money -- and it doesn't have to be sleazy or spammy.
If you're approached by a company to write a sponsored article, make sure you:
- Research the company first. Make sure they're reputable and that their products or services are something you would actually recommend to your readers.
- Write a disclosure at the beginning of the post letting your readers know that it's a sponsored.
- Don't go overboard with the sales pitch. Yes, you want to promote the product or service, but you also want to be honest and objective.
- If you don't like the product or service don't write the post. It's not worth it to sell out just for a few bucks.
Assuming that your blog has some sort of niche, I'm sure there are companies and businesses out there that would love to have you write a sponsored post about their product or service on your new blog.
It's a win-win -- they get some extra exposure, and you get paid for something you were going to do anyway (write a blog post)!
Just make sure that you do your research on the company first, and only write sponsored articles for products or services that you would actually recommend.
Now for my favourite...
4. Create digital products
You know what digital products are, right? E-books, courses, printables, templates, PDFs (etc).
An e-good (or digital good) exists in digital form only, so they can be really easy to create.
As a blogger, one of the best ways to make money blogging is by creating your own e-products. This could be anything from an e-book to an online course, or even a printable workbook!
The great thing about creating digital goods or products is that you create them once and then sell them over and over again. You can also sell them on your own website or through third-party sites.
You could also do this in the form of a subscription service (or downloadable digital courses), like Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess does with her courses in DIY techniques, blogging, crafting, social media or photography.
If you're not sure where to start, why not try creating an e-book? You can write about what you're passionate about, then sell it on your blog or through Amazon or Gumroad.
Alternatively, you could create online courses on a specific topic that would be of interest to your readers.
On that note I did create a photo book for Amazon KDP and discovered it's a crazy way to a) practise your design skills, b) get published and c) earn a passive income!
5. Offer consulting services
If you're still wondering how to make money blogging then what about the old school way where you help other bloggers with specific tasks or problems?
In other words, offering digital marketing consultant services -- especially if you're an expert in a certain area like search engine optimisation (SEO), website design or using AI writing tools!
But what does 'offering consulting services' actually mean?
Simply put, consulting services means that you offer your help and expertise to other online marketers and entrepreneurs in specific areas.
For example, if you're good at SEO, you'd offer your services to help people improve their search engine rankings.
Or, if you're a social media gun, you'd offer to help people create and implement effective social media campaigns.
The possibilities are endless, but the important thing is that you offer value and that you're able to provide results. If you can do that, then there's no reason why you can't start making money from your blog...
Just jump in and start!
If this idea freaks you out a bit you can always offer to do some consulting for free at the beginning, just until you get your foot in the door!
Now let's sell some of those physical products you have...
6. Sell physical products
Selling physical products is another potential way to make money from your blog; this could be anything from merchandise like t-shirts and mugs, to jewellery, prints and art.
For this to work you need to boogie down and make sure you're doing your research on what people want...
Don't: import a gazillion widgets before testing the market, which end up as unopened dusty boxes in the back room.
Do: research what people want and get some initial sales up front first! These could be from friends, family or fellow bloggers to start with...
Want to see some a few examples of bloggers selling physical products?
Take a look at Theanna of Brooklyn Blonde and Meagan of Waiting on Martha -- both have e-commerce sites where they sell physical products.
This is a great way to get people interested in what you have to offer and could be the perfect thing to monetise your blog with if you're creative and crafty!
Done right you get to work with companies that you love, and create products that you know people will love.
A few things to keep in mind when selling physical products from your blog...
- Make sure that the product is high quality and will be something that people will want to buy.
- Find a company that you can partner with that has good customer service and a fair price for their products.
- Promote the products on your blog and social media. This is where the real work comes in, but it's also the most fun part! You get to be creative and come up with ways to show off the products that you're selling.
- Make sure that you're doing all of this within the bounds of the law.
Bamboozled yet? 🙂
7. Create software tools
Would a free tool for your own blog be helpful?
It's definitely one way to help your readers out and also generate some extra traffic back to your website!
My man Neil Patel certainly gets CRAZY traffic from his UberSuggest keyword tool! (He also has backlinks checker, SEO analyser tools, and too many more to mention!)
Curious why Neil created these free (and paid) tools?
Yep, a lot of people use his marketing tools because they're free and super helpful -- and then these folks are teased over to read his blog...
So if you're thinking about creating a free tool from your blog, make sure it's something that will be genuinely useful to your readers.
It should also be something that isn't too complicated to create. Alternatively search on CodeCanyon for 'free HTML tools' or so forth.
To get huge, good things done, you need to be okay with letting the small, bad things happen.
~ Tim Ferriss
Once you have your free tool up and running, promote it on your blog and social media channels to get people using it.
This is one way you can make money blogging!
Success leaves clues...
Neil creates free tools which generate a lot of eyeballs...
Other folks use Gumroad to sell their digital products to a hungry audience...
Which approach will you take?
Let's cover a few other questions, while we're here!
How can you do digital marketing?
This depends where you're at with your blog, your niche, and so forth.
If you have a new blog then it's tricky making money blogging straight away.
Most of us are impatient and want our blogging efforts to pay off immediately.
When it doesn't happen we get a nasty case of shiny object syndrome and go chase another tactic or tool that promises the world.
Just choose one or two things to focus on and get good at them. (And make sure you're in a profitable niche from the start eh?)
How to get more search engine traffic?
You need the search engines in your life if you want to create a profitable blog. (Unless of course you use Medium - but even then people need to find your content somehow).
- Produce helpful content that helps people with their questions and inquiries
- Use keyword tools to find out what people are searching for and want help with
Letting Google search auto complete your questions can work for basic ideas too.
We use Quora, Youtube videos (when we can), and blog articles to (hopefully) help us rank in the search engines.
You can also play around with guest blogging, or guest posting, whatever you call it!
Do we need a web hosting account?
We just use DropFunnels as it's easier. (No random WordPress plugins or WordPress themes to think about!)
The main thing you need to do is purchase your own domain name. DropFunnels takes care of the web hosting for you.
No need to install WordPress with DropFunnels by the way. (It's all done for you).
When will our blogging efforts pay off?
You've got to be in this game for the long run.
If it's just a hobby then go use any of these free blog tools here.
You need to have a basic understanding of:
- Search engine optimization
- Understanding your blogging niche and where you fit
- How other successful bloggers do it
Aim to create 50-100 helpful blog posts before you can expect to make money blogging.
How to find an affiliate marketing program to use
Most well known websites have a link at the bottom of their page that'll say 'Affiliates' or 'Referral program' or similar.
Referring a service or product with your own affiliate link has got to be one of the best ways to make money blogging like ever, but...
You still need eyeballs on your content.
There are a lot of factors that come into play here.
It takes a lot of time and effort if you have a new blog.
You can fast track this by doing guest posts on other blogs.
Or getting really, really good at Twitter! 🙂
Do people really make money from their blogs?
Search on Twitter for SEO / niche website owners.
Ok, let me do it for you then...
These folks are serious about what they do.
Some of them have online courses (Gumroad etc), maybe an online store, others generate income from selling ads or ad space...
Either way, they seem to earn money from it!
They usually have a good grasp of the blogging niche they're in. Soak up that knowledge.
How many income streams to have?
You want as many income streams as you possibly can!
Just in case one of them goes belly up... it's good to have a backup plan in place.
- Use a WordPress blog if it's the right fit
- Ask lots of questions: the blogging world is friendly to your needs!
- Work on your content creation: One blog post a week if doable
- Use an editorial calendar to help organise and create content
There's a lot of good reasons to have multiple streams of income!
Blogging can be a great way to make money online (and offline too!)
Like mentioned, there are numerous ways that you can monetise your blog, including affiliate marketing, guest posts, product referrals, and creating helpful tools.
If you're interested in making money blogging, it's important to think about what kinds of products and services your readers might be interested in.
By creating helpful and targeted content, you can attract loyal readers that will be interested in supporting your blog financially.
You now have a good understanding about how to make money blogging and I'm sure you know that the possibilities are endless. So go for it!